Spectrum News NY1 visited Lavelle to interview one of our teachers, Sharada Veerubhotla, about how she overcame the challenges of losing her sight and now inspires a younger generation to do the same. Sharada was featured as NY1’s New Yorker of the Week.
SHARADA VEERUBHOLTA: TEACHER WITH VISUAL IMPAIRMENT HELPS OTHERS GAIN INDEPENDENCE
It’s a long commute every day for Sharada Veerubhotla, from her home in Flushing to her job at Lavelle School for the Blind in the Bronx.
Others might complain about the travel time to her teaching job.
But she says the fact that she can do it on her own means everything.
“It is so liberating. If I was to think about one thing to feel good about myself, is being able to travel independently,” Veerubhotla said.
Veerubhotla has a degenerative disease that caused her to go blind as a teen. She’s originally from India where she says resources for people with disabilties are limited.
Everything changed when she moved to New York in her 20s.
“It opened up a whole new world for me, to come here, and become independent,” Veerubhotla said.
It meant more services, an education, and then a job. Veerubhotla is a teacher for children with visual impairment and developmental disabilities.
With the help of adaptive technology, she conducts her class as any sighted teacher would. And she uses her disability as a teaching tool.
“It’s not just having a teaching skill or to have the knowledge or to be devoted, but it’s really the entire picture. She’s really the perfect example of showing how if you put your mind to it, you can do it,” said Diane Tucker, Interim Executive Director at Lavelle School for the Blind.
That’s what she’s trying to show her young students. Veerubhotla says perseverance is the key to fighting adversity.
“You will feel satisfied when you leave the day because you’ve done something. You’ve taken a baby step forward with the kids. And I think that’s the most important thing,” Veerubhotla said.
So for teaching lessons not always found in textbooks, Sharada Veerubhotla is our New Yorker of the Week.